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4.2 out of 5 stars145
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 3 March 2010
This album fits together more elegantly than the previous Gorillaz albums. It plays like the smooth, laid-back soundtrack to a long lie in the sun (perhaps in the garden, or, if you have one to hand, on a beach). The slightly soporific/hypnotic spell is broken by the chaotic party music of Sweepstakes - but that track is a fun, intense ride.

Expect a slightly slower pace than Demon Days, and, instead of the latter album's mood of "help - the apocolypse is coming", a feel of "okay, here we are in a post-apocolyptic world, let's make the best of it". How you react to that message is up to you.

What's amazing about this music is that, even though it fits together so beautifully, there are so many different elements - western and arabic orchestral music, several flavours of rap (laid back, cheap & cheeky, intense & high), loose semi-improvised brass, dub, alternative rock, 70s and 80s electronica, comedy jingles, crooning, vocal harmonies, snippets that reminded me of Brian Eno, Jean Michel Jarre, David Bowie, Tangerine Dream, and many, many others, and that's before you even get to the various guest stars (Lou Reed, Mark E Smith, De La Soul, Little Dragon, Bobby Womack, Mos Def, Gruff Rhys, etc.) who each bring their own highly personal styles. The guests are fully integrated and feel completely authentic parts of the sound. There are moments that are sleepy, racy, romantic, funny, camp, cool, trippy, danceable, ghostly, nostalgic, futuristic.

This album has a chilled-out feel yet is packed with so much variety and so many overlapping layers of rhythm, sounds, intriguing words, and sweet counterpoint melodies that it will be very hard to get bored no matter how many times you listen.
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on 7 March 2010
I pre-ordered this album after having a quick listen to the samples and liking them. I loved their previous album 'Demon Days', and so was really looking forward the long awaited next album from Gorillaz. And I have to say that I haven't been dissapointed. This album is more chilled out in a way, with a lot more orchestral tunes, almost hypnotic at times. But this does not make it any less of an achievment for them. Infact I really like it, it's different, but at the same time doesn't seem to vear away from the usual stuff we are all familliar with with the Gorillaz gang. I love this album, it's something different from them. I'm just glad it came so quick!
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VINE VOICEon 16 March 2010
Plastic Beach is the long-awaiting follow-up to the Gorillaz' 2005 album Demon Days and (for me, at least) is the first 'must buy' album of 2010 and is definitely going to be the soundtrack to my summer.

The tracks are a bit of a mixed bag, ranging from their usual indie/hip-hop crossover on tracks like "Sweepstakes" (with guest vocals from the awesome Mos Def) and "Superfast Jellyfish" (which is my favourite track from the whole album, making me realise how much I actually miss the light-hearted and upbeat raps from the timeless greats, De La Soul) to more darker, yet surprisingly mellow tunes such as "On Melancholy Hill" and "Glitter Freeze". The constant shift in styles is most welcome though as it offers a wide variety of concept sounds, some which are so abstract that they did actually take a few listens to before I actually even began to like them.

This is a great album, not one that I'd say will hit you with an instant favourite straight away but is most rewarding after a few listens. The sound is completely new from their previous albums but is excellent all the same. Highly recommended.
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on 14 August 2011
Life was simple. Well, simple-ish. I was buying films and books. I hadn't bothered with CDs for a while. Then, one morning, the radio plays an old Gorillaz tune and I remember I used to like the first album. I dug it out and played it to death. So then I chased down my old copy of Demon Days, which had been relegated into dusty storage. And then I played that to death as well. Then it was time to order the fake biography and watch Demon Days Live. A lot. And so, with little to no choice on the matter, I knew I was going to the Plastic Beach. And I am so glad I came here now. For me, looking back now, I can see that the Gorillaz project was always maturing into something special, something I would never have expected. Plastic Beach is a million miles from the first time I sat down, hung over, and thought I was watching a demented new kids show called Clint Eastwood. But gone are those days of buzz attracting music videos which happen to have a song playing over them. Instead there is something intriguing, dark and catchy as hell here. Something powerful and something playful. The tracks on Plastic Beach are all dazzlingly strong. From Mr Dog welcoming us to Plastic Beach after an orchestral intro to the final moments of the deliriously simple Pirate Jet. This is a brilliant album. I won't lie. It was a grower. Tracks like White Flag aren't normally something I'd check out and I don't know why but Lou Reed's appearance felt a little forced at first, but it all fits into place soon enough. From Little Dragon's fragile to the point of brittle vocals to the mind blowing howls of Mr Bobby Womack of Stylo. Never mind the jaw dropping work of De La Soul on something so deceptively simple as Superfast Jellyfish. This is an album that will hook you and pull you in over a matter of days and plays. Each time another track breaks through and begs for you to love it. For me, so far this year, Sweepstakes is the best thing I've heard. It's somewhere between voodoo, battle cry, hypnotism and pure rhythm. Stunning. I've got one album left to plunder now, The Fall, but I'm saving it. I'm not ready to leave the beach just yet.
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on 13 March 2010
Well, where on earth do you start in disecting this album?. Do you start with what each of the numourous collaborations bring to the table?, just who or what is playing each part?, have Gorillaz expanded upon the sound they reached on 'Demon Days'?, or do you just sit back and listen to a master pop writer at the pinnacle of his/their game?. I tend to go with that last option.

Damon Albarn has long been seen as the modern day Ray Davies (of Kinks fame, all you young 'uns), singing of life in Britain and giving even the little things in life a romantic feel. The bitter Oasis/Blur feud left a sour taste in the mouth and gave rise to a generation of lamentable Brit-pop bands, in fact to my ears the mid-to-late 90's were the most depressing time for British music with only a handful of groups (such as Pulp, Suede and indeed Blur) coming out the other end with some credit and longevity. In the early 2000's Damon Albarn seemed to be going to every length to distance himself from this murky world of pub-rocker's and faux-feminist-cross-dressers and in 2002 recorded the Afican-influenced 'Mali Music' album which he recorded with Afel Bocoum & Toumani Diabaté (amongs others), then in 2003 came Blur's wonderful parting shot 'Think Tank' (which featured parts recorded in Morocco) and of course in 2007 came the Tony Allen, Paul Simonon and Simon Tong collabarated release 'The Good, The Bad And The Queen'. In between all this he has managed to find the time to release 2 albums primarily in collabaration with (Tank Girl creator) Jamie Hewlett.

Now here we are a full five years since the multi platinum selling 'Demon Days' (which featured an unforgettable cameo from Hollywood legend Dennis Hopper) comes Albarn & Hewlett's latest pop masterclass 'Plastic Beach'. A concept album set upon a mythical island built from detritus dumped into the Pacific Trash Vortex, the album contains various mentions of ecological concerns and even has some reaccuring characters. But to get bogged down in the specifics would be to miss the point, this is pop music first-and-foremost and it is played as if so. Guests such as Snoop Dog, Mark E. Smith, Lou Reed, Kano, Bashy, Mos Def, Bobby Womack and Gruff Rhys (amongs still more) give the album a real celebratory feel and each guest brings their own unique quality to the album. Early highlights include the Kano/Bashy duel 'White Flag' which features some tremendous percussion and Bollywood-esque strings, this is followed by the truly magnificent 'Rhinestone Eyes' which is surely to be released as a future single and could draw some compariosons to 2005's 'Dare' with it's driving beat and dark keyboard flourishes. Track 5 'Stylo' is the album's lead-off single and it's easy to see why, Albarn, Mos Def and Bobby Womack trade off over the bassline from Mis-Teeq's 'Scandalous' with Womack's part of particular note.

The second half of the album is just as strong with Lou Reed's wonderfully stated presence presiding over 'Some Kind Of Nature' being a definate high-point. It could be claimed that the album is a little too weighted towards the collabarations, and on the strengh of the handful of song's which are performed exclusively by Gorillaz, it is a fair arguament. Track 10 'On Melancholy Hill', 'Broken' and 'Pirate Jet' are some of the strongest song's on the entire set. Indeed, 'On Melancholy Hill' is probably my favourite moment, with it's title belaying it's incessant joyfullness and beautiful harmonies, all the while Albarn gives the sort of lost-little-boy vocal performance he's mastered over his career. I can't finish without mentioning the Mos Def led 'Sweepstakes' which get's itself into a modern R & B groove but ends with a New Orlean's style funeral march complete with all manner of Brass & percussion.

Overall the album is a superb pop creation which is sure to be enjoyed throughout the summer months, and only it's (slightly) too long length and the fact that not all of the collabaration's are quite as memorable as you'd hope (I'm looking your way Mark E. Smith, oh how I wanted that collabaration to work) stop it from being the 5 star masterpeice it so nearly is. If Amazon gave half-marks you can add another .5 to my 4 stars, as it is it'll have to settle for just the 4 stars.
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I was eagerly looking forward to the new Gorillaz album and have given this a solid listening to over the past months to gauge fully it's sound and feel. This is a great progression to their last album and whilst the sound is familiar territory, it has moved on enough to keep things interesting. My favourite track easily has to be `Stylo' which has some amazing vocals from Bobby Womack and Mos Def and an infectious groove from the off. As always on a Gorillaz album there are wonderful collaborations throughout and the artist roll call is especially impressive this time, featuring Snoop Dogg, Lou Reed, Mark E Smith and Mick Jones, amongst others. Gorillaz always manages to be at the forefront of the music scene at the time of each release and with `Plastic Beach' that remains the same and this album offers up plenty of tunes to delight and interest old and new fans alike.

This `Experience Edition' features an additional DVD which features a `making of' documentary and also a code to access additional information from the band website. The documentary is relatively short, and the disc lacks any extras, but it does give an insight into the making of the album and should please hardcore fans. For the casual listener you can buy the single disc version of the album and be easily satisfied knowing you aren't missing anything truly groundbreaking.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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I was eagerly looking forward to the new Gorillaz album and have given this a solid listening to over the past months to gauge fully it's sound and feel. This is a great progression to their last album and whilst the sound is familiar territory, it has moved on enough to keep things interesting. My favourite track easily has to be `Stylo' which has some amazing vocals from Bobby Womack and Mos Def and an infectious groove from the off. As always on a Gorillaz album there are wonderful collaborations throughout and the artist roll call is especially impressive this time, featuring Snoop Dogg, Lou Reed, Mark E Smith and Mick Jones, amongst others. Gorillaz always manages to be at the forefront of the music scene at the time of each release and with `Plastic Beach' that remains the same and this album offers up plenty of tunes to delight and interest old and new fans alike.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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on 12 March 2010
Plastic beach is a step up from the old Gorillaz (Which I thought was amazing) it's much more relaxing, slow, and soulful.

I think he only up-beat songs are Stylo and Superfast Jellyfish (And I'm not complaining!) they're both great songs,
but I think the other songs you could lie down on a beach (preferably plastic) and relax.
Stylo and superfast are more "boppy".

Don't change song because it's weird or not very good at first, almost every song on the album starts OK and start getting better, and better,
and better.
My favourite tracks are Empire Ants, Rhinestone Eyes, Plastic Beach, Welcome to the world of the Plastic Beach, and Stylo.

White Flag is really different, it's starts with a bongo solo with some orchestral stuff thrown in there and then a bassline comes in and Bashy starts rapping and then Kano, and ends the way it starts.

I can't think of a track that isn't "any good".

I highly recommend this album, the experience version for hardcore Gorillaz fans (like me)
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on 11 April 2010
I've been a fan of Gorillaz since I was 9 and naturally I have their first two albums. I wasn't overly excited when hearing about this album but I was still pretty eagar to hear their new stuff.

I admit when I first listened to it, I didn't like it at all. 'White Flag' and 'Superfast Jellyfish' were the only two songs I liked (and both still remain my favourite songs on the album with the addition of 'Sweepstakes'). But after a few more listens, the album did grow on me somewhat.
Though having said that, I do believe the first two albums where far better; I can listen to EVERY song on 'Gorillaz' and 'Demon Days'. With 'Plastic Beach' not so much.
To me, the first and last songs on an album have to be two of their stongest. Into songs actually work for me so I think 'Orchestral Intro' was a good way to start off the album (especially considering the song after that isn't at all that great). However, 'Pirate Jet' being the last song was a total let down. If you compare it to the last songs on the first albums which were '19-2000 (Soulchild Remix)' and 'Demon Days' it's very weak. Especially seen as those two songs have so much energy in them (even if '19-2000' is just a remix and 'Demon Days' is slow; The build up of it really lets the album finish on a high).
What also irked me about this album was how little singing Damon Albarn/2D did. I know that Gorillaz have done quite a few songs with featured artists but 12 our of the 16 songs are rappers/various artists. Which is fine if you're into rap. But for fans who aren't into that genre of music are going to struggle to like this album, I feel - Although, my brother has listened to 'Sweepstakes' and 'White Flag' and did enjoy them and he hates rap. So maybe that's the Gorillaz touch making it bearable.

Due to the fact that I wasn't so excited about it is probably the reson I didn't feel so let down like a few fans were - I think people were expecting this album to be like Demon Days. Which it isn't. In fact, it's completely different. As is the first album. If it weren't for the fact that I feel Gorillaz are so original in what they do and for the fact that the album grew on me over time, I would've rated this album about 2/5.
My advice to new Gorillaz fans or to existing fans who have yet to buy this album is don't expect too much from it. And certainly don't expect it to be anything like the first two.
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on 23 March 2010
As one or two previous reviewers have commented this is nowhere near as instant as Demon Days but is actually a real grower. A lack of obvious singles is just one thing that sets the two albums apart; another is that Damon Albarn's vocals are nowhere near as ubiquitous - not on the first half of the CD anyway. After a random orchestral intro, Snoop Dogg cameos on 'Welcome to the Plastic Beach', which kicks in with a loping bassline and mellow feel - this sets the tone for the rest of the album, as does the presence of a guest artist, and with the exception of a couple of hip-hop style tracks this is essentially a laid-back summer selection. I know this seems odd because the CD is an overtly political statement about the way in which we've buggered-up the Earth through our generally lazy and slack consumer lifestyles, but perhaps this is why Damon always seems to feel so misunderstood - if you're going to write a protest album then make it more clear what you're protesting about; the appearance of 70s and 80s Soul powerhouse Bobby Womack gives 'Stylo' a bold vocal strength that is less overt on the remainder of the album, but as the tracks go by the underlying appeal of the songs becomes more and more obvious; essentially this gets better with every listen.

The initial orchestral theme is carried into track 3 - 'White Flag' - which then itself morphs into a fairly routine slice of hip-hop. However, the quality goes up a notch with the arrival of lead single 'Stylo', and from hereon in Albarn is clearly having a ball.
Other standout tracks are the whimsical 'On Melancholy Hill' and the haunting title track, but despite these highlights and the pleasant collection of songs that comprises the band's third album proper, it's initially difficult to see why Damon returned to his cartoon band after the more ambitious Journey To The West and the excellent The Good, The Bad and The Queen. What 'Plastic Beach' does do though is gradually creep up on the listener until you're completely immersed in the hypnotic world of one of our greatest ever pop architects.
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